Donald Trump just pardoned trailblazing lesbian suffragette Susan B Anthony. There’s just one major problem

Susan B Anthony

Trump has issued a posthumous pardon to the trailblazing lesbian suffragette Susan B Anthony, but it’s not quite the progressive move it appears to be.

The president announced the pardon on the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants all citizens the right to vote regardless of gender. It was thanks in large part to Susan B Anthony’s work in paving the way for women’s equality.

The fearless feminist was convicted by an all-male jury for “illegally voting” in the 1872 presidential election. She argued that the constitution gave her, and all women, the right to vote – but the courts ruled otherwise and handed her a $100 fine, which she never paid.

“She was never pardoned. What took so long?” Trump asked on Tuesday. There’s actually a very good reason: Susan B Anthony never even wanted a pardon.

The “most famous lesbian” in 19th century America helped many other suffragettes obtain pardons but never asked for one herself. She remained incredibly proud of her arrest, which she strategically used to advance women’s rights.

“Susan B Anthony did not want to be pardoned,” tweeted former California Democrat Katie Hill after Trump’s announcement. “She was very pointed about this. Not until all women had full equality (which we still don’t have).

“Unsurprisingly, Trump is putting on a show to pretend he cares about women but doesn’t give a s**t about what women really want.”

Hill wasn’t the only one incensed by Trump’s “misguided” attempt to win over female voters.

Many were quick to point out the hypocrisy of Trump praising a woman who fought for voting freedom while he himself is accused of voter suppression, brands those fighting for equality as “terrorists”, and attacks the rights of the LGBT+ community that Susan B Anthony would’ve been part of.

Others argued that his act of “forgiveness” does a disservice to the historical feminist as it suggests an admission of guilt.

“Stunts like this are slaps in the face to women and Americans like me who actually pay attention to history,” wrote Jennifer Stavros in the Independent.

“Susan B Anthony would not have wanted the pardon as she did nothing that merited it. Pardons are supposed to be for crimes, not for actions someone knowingly embarked on in the pursuit of fundamental freedoms.

“The act of ‘pardoning’ Susan B Anthony is therefore toxic, abusive, and a slap in the face to the whole women’s rights movement. It pushes a dangerous but deliberate narrative.”

In any case, Trump’s celebration of 19th amendment is arguably misplaced as it didn’t actually make female suffrage legal – it just made all the previous instances when it had been denied a crime.